LONDON — Harrods is tearing up the men’s department store map, getting rid of product categories and looking to showcase the brands and designers its clients are following on social media.
The old suiting, outerwear and formal tailoring departments are finito because few customers think or shop by merchandise category anymore. Instead, “people come in and ask for a brand,” said Simon Longland, head of men’s wear at Harrods.
“They ask ‘Where is Off-White? Where is Moncler?’ People know what brands they like, and they become a destination. Customers are also shopping by aesthetic, rather than looking specifically for formalwear or casualwear,” he added.
On Friday, Longland tore down the hoardings on the latest Harrods’ men’s wear room, which sees 12 brands including Off-White, Givenchy, Loewe and Moncler opening stand-alone boutiques, with Craig Green, Dries Van Noten, Lanvin and Jil Sander featuring within a multibrand space.
The newest designer room is the latest in a multiphase redevelopment that will see all men’s fashion and accessories relocate to the second floor, creating a central hub for the category at Harrods.
The room spans 19,400 square feet and also features two pop-up spaces, each measuring about 750 square feet. Those pop-ups will change on a monthly basis, spotlighting products such as fragrances, watches, headphones and tech gadgets. Longland said because the Harrods men’s customer is regular and loyal, he doesn’t want them seeing the same brands twice in the pop-ups.
The newest room is the largest to open so far after Superbrands, which opened late last year and houses names such as Louis Vuitton, Ermenegildo Zegna, Loro Piana, Burberry, Tom Ford, Prada and Gucci.
The latest phase also houses a diverse mix of clothing, ranging from sartorial, as in Thom Browne, to streetwear, such as Palm Angels.
“I didn’t want the space to have too narrow a focus, and I want to create an environment so beautiful there would be no reason for men to leave the floor,” said Longland.
The edit of brands in the room is meant to complement the timeless, seasonless and trendless designer space that launched earlier this year. That space houses names such as Giorgio Armani, Canali, Pal Zileri, Ralph Lauren and Brunello Cucinelli.
Exclusives in the designer room include an aviator shearling from Acne, one-off capsules from Off-White and Versace, a tweed coat from Thom Browne and a teddy bear topper from Lemaire.
Longland said brands were eager to create exclusive products for the launch. “Brands are happy to be doing for men what they are already doing for women.”
Designed by David Collins Studio, the interiors have a midcentury modern feel, with materials including stainless steel and Spanish black marble, leather cladding, colored timber and stone. Inlaid stone marble floors resemble the ones in the Superbrands rooms.
The fitting rooms were designed with much care and attention, Longland said, “because that’s where the decisions are made.”
Walls have been lined in navy blue leather, which is meant to soften the light, while there are also three-way mirrors, seats, railings, hooks, tables and shelves in each room.
Asked about sales trends overall, Longland said men are shopping with friends “and it’s not a chore. They enjoy it.”
Millennial men are also spending as much as their female counterparts on fashion. He described the tailoring and made-to-measure business as robust because “when the suit stops being a uniform, it becomes a beautiful garment of choice. Men are now choosing to wear a suit.”
He said there has been a return to “fashion tailoring” — jackets and trouser separates — “and we’re selling tuxedos 12 months a year.” Outerwear is the best-performing category, with shoes and ready-to-wear doing well, too. The quality of the basket of goods is getting higher and higher, Longland added.
Harrods will continue to roll out new spaces on the men’s wear floor: There will be rooms dedicated to footwear, complete with a shoe concierge; underwear, nightwear and swimwear; outdoor sports, including country pursuits such as skiing, riding and sailing, and gym sports such as running and yoga.
The second floor will also have two restaurants: a pizzeria, which is already open, and another offer, which has yet to be revealed. A barber with a skin care and fragrance offer is also set to open.
“The potential for men’s wear is huge, and we want to treat every product — from jeans, hoodies, T-shirts and sneakers to tailoring or a bespoke suit — in a super beautiful, luxurious and elevated way,” said Longland.